The Saint James’s Institute of Oncology includes a special program in Yorkshire: Maggie’s. It’s a place that provides free support services for people living with cancer. Maggie’s programs include assistance for finding government benefits, exercise classes, stress management workshops and support for talking to children about cancer. In short, it’s the kind of treatment you can’t get from an oncologist.
Heatherwick Studio, based out of London, is yet another practice that has turned to pottery for architectural inspiration, and have designed a building that speaks to the practical and emotional care Maggie’s provides. In contrast to the hospital, Maggie’s needed to be a place that feels relaxed, informal and domestic, the designers state. Plants seemed to be a good fit.
At the same time as being a quiet domestic space for its users on the inside, there was an opportunity for the building’s exterior to offer something positive and hopeful to people passing by.
Surrounded by the huge and complex medical machine for healing we wanted to capture the positive and therapeutic experience of plants and see if it could be possible to make a whole building out of a garden.
We wondered if we could make a building from containers, each holding a piece of garden. The design formed itself as a collection of garden pots defining a building by enclosing a series of spaces between them.
The individual pots and planting are of differing proportions bringing the planting into and over the building itself. The most private spaces are created within the containers themselves. Between them are only the minimum flat sheets of glass necessary to weather protect and enclose the internal space.
The architects state that planning was approved for the project this July.
Maggie’s is a little more restrained, but it’s another example of architecture that resembles ceramic vessels. It’s similar to larger buildings we’ve seen in China. The trend is becoming a pandemic.
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